Rhetorical Analysis of Political Speech

Essay is worth 100 points Rhetorical Analysis of Political Speech Go to americanrhetoric.com or to any one of the Republican candidates’ websites or previous democratic candidates’ websites and choose a speech to download.  You’ll probably want to take a look at several to find one that is appropriate for this assignment.  Consider length (5-6 pages single spaced is usually good), focus (a more generalized speech versus one focusing, for instance, specifically on foreign policy or energy), and rhetorical techniques. Make sure as well that it is an actual speech and not an interview or town meeting.  Make sure there is a lot to analyze! Read the speech once for the general gist.  Write a 2-4 sentence summary of the speech’s major points. Re-read the speech more slowly for a better, more full understanding of content and details. Determine the purpose and audience of the speech.  For instance, if the speech is on energy, don’t simply say the speech’s purpose is to convince someone to vote for the candidate—that would be true of all the speeches. Be as complete as possible as well. For instance, there may be more than one purpose, more than one audience.  Unless you know what the speaker’s purpose is, you can’t begin to analyze his tactics because you won’t know what he’s trying to achieve. Go through the speech again, this time with a pen in hand.  As you read, mark in the margins where you believe the speaker is making a rhetorical appeal based on pathos, ethos, or logos.  Identify the type in your margin notes.  Look, too, for other appeals (to authority, nationalism, etc. because if you find pathos, you need to determine/explain what emotion he/she’s trying to evoke. Go through the speech again looking for rhetorical techniques (refer to the tutorials on argument).  Identify them in the margins (you might want to highlight or underline examples).  These are notes to yourself—use whatever shorthand is best.  Don’t feel the need to label all of them as long as you have enough to complete a 5-7 page essay. Go through the speech again, and this time focus on language, style, word choice.  Circle particularly loaded words, similes/metaphors, motifs, sudden shifts in sentence style or length (such as the use of a short fragment for emphasis), repeated words, parallel structure, etc. Take a look at your notes and consider your impression of the speech. Write a thesis statement you can support from your notes (“he/she uses the rhetorical techniques of __________to persuade the audience that ___________” or something of that ilk). The thesis is due Sunday  OCTOBER 25TH  IN YOUR OUTLINE Create an outline/organizer for your essay, employing your notes. Be selective in what you choose to analyze; you don’t need to cover every single aspect of the speech.  You’ll want to choose techniques that the speaker uses a few or several times rather than once and group those techniques in your analysis.  You may organize by technique, by subject matter/issue (there is one Bush speech where he addressed three separate topics), by purpose, or chronologically. The outline is due Sunday OCTOBER 25Th Write a 5-7 page rhetorical analysis of the speech following the structure I provide below. Introduction Introduce writer, speech, audience, the main claimIntroduce the author. Who is the author? What is his or her background? How does this information affect your reading of the text? Does the author tell you anything directly about him/herself? Why might the author have done this? Does he/she have any expertise on the topic? Identify the context here is the speech given? When? Is it primary or general campaign?  Is it connected to any particular event (financial mess, Iraq War, etc.)?Intended audience. To whom does the author seem to be speaking? What beliefs does the author assume the audience shares? Where and how does the author make these assumptions clear? What are the piece’s main claims? What is the piece about? What is the author trying to accomplish? What is the message he or she is trying to convey?  Ex: The Iraq War was a strategic error from the start, mismanaged, and needs to end ASAP, or The Iraq War was a good and necessary strategic move, was mismanaged, and needs to continue responsibly. In the body of the essay identify and analyze various rhetorical techniques the author uses what appeals are used (pathos, logos, ethos.)What fallacies (slippery slope, fear, ad hominem, etc.)What other strategies? What style of language?  Formal, conversational, etc. How does this tone fit the author’s purpose and context? What tone?  Angry, accusatory, humorous, etc. How does this tone fit the author’s purpose, audience and context? Don’t just make it a laundry list.  Think of how we looked at techniques and discussed their intended effects—that’s what you want to do. ConclusionHow effective would you say the speech was and why? Avoid relating it to your political bent; rather, evaluate it on the techniques and their effectiveness.  I might not agree with someone, but I can recognize the strength in how something is presented/said.  This is the only place in the paper where you can be subjective and evaluate it.  You can use “I” here. OrganizationI thinks it works to organize by strategy if you have several strategies the person uses throughout (discussing them together works well even if he/she uses the same strategy for a different effect).Discussing the piece chronologically will work too unless your strategies become too chopped up.  Some people break the speech up according to its various purposes or focus throughout.  If the beginning focuses on the immediacy of the problem, the middle on the many ways to fix it, and the end

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